Australia PM’s partner apologizes for Asian doctor joke

Updated 30 January 2013
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Australia PM’s partner apologizes for Asian doctor joke

SYDNEY: The partner of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose fiery speech against sexism last year made global headlines, apologized Tuesday for making a quip about an “Asian female doctor.”
Tim Mathieson made the comment during a reception at The Lodge in Canberra on Monday night attended by members of the West Indies cricket team.
Mathieson, who has worked to raise awareness about men’s health issues, brought up the need for men to have regular checks for prostate cancer.
“Go and get that exam that none of us like to have done, but we know we should,” Mathieson said. Gillard was standing behind him at the time.
“We can get a blood test for it but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that. And perhaps look(ing) for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way...”
The comment was met with laughter at the time, but the opposition said Mathieson’s remark was in bad taste and he later apologized.
“It was meant as a joke, and on reflection I accept it was in poor taste,” he said in a statement.
“I apologize for any offense caused.”
Gillard, the nation’s first female leader, caused a global stir in October when she lashed out at opposition leader Tony Abbott in parliament, saying she would not be “lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man.”
She said Tuesday that Mathieson was passionate about getting out the message to men to get recommended health checks, but agreed the apology was the right thing to do.
“Tim’s apologized for a joke that was in poor taste,” she said.
mfc/ajc/mtp


French priest suspended after slapping baby during baptism

Video shows priest slapping crying baby.
Updated 23 June 2018
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French priest suspended after slapping baby during baptism

  • The baby’s parents, visibly shocked, eventually manage to extricate the child from the priest’s grip
  • The child was bawling and I needed to turn his head so I could pour the water

PARIS: A French Catholic priest was suspended Friday after a video of him smacking a crying baby during a baptism ceremony went viral, drawing widespread condemnation on social media.
In footage posted on Twitter on Thursday, gasps can be heard when the 89-year-old priest, after ordering the infant he is holding to “be quiet,” sharply slaps his cheek.
A few seconds later he smacks him again.
The baby’s parents, visibly shocked, eventually manage to extricate the child from the priest’s grip during the ceremony in Champeaux, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Paris.
“This loss of self-control can be attributed to the fatigue of an elderly priest, but that doesn’t excuse it,” the diocese of Meaux, which includes the town, said in a statement.
It said the priest would no longer be leading baptisms and weddings nor holding mass until further notice.
“The child was bawling and I needed to turn his head so I could pour the water. I was saying ‘be quiet’ but he wouldn’t calm down,” the priest told France Info radio on Friday.
“It was something between a caress and a little slap,” he said. “I was trying to calm him down, I didn’t really know what to do.”